File No. 861.00/1246

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan (Morris)1


At your earliest opportunity you will please read to the Japanese Government the following message but leave no copy unless they request you to do so:

The Government of the United States has been giving the most careful and anxious consideration to the conditions now prevailing in Siberia and their possible remedy. It realizes the extreme danger of anarchy to which the Siberian provinces are exposed and the imminent risk also of German invasion and domination. It shares with the governments of the Entente the view that, if intervention is deemed wise, the Government of Japan is in the best situation to undertake it and could accomplish it most efficiently. It has, moreover, the utmost confidence in the Japanese Government and would be entirely willing, so far as its own feelings towards that Government are concerned, to intrust the enterprise to it. But it is bound in frankness to say that the wisdom of intervention seems to it most questionable. If it were undertaken the Government of the United States assumes that the most explicit assurances would be given that it was undertaken by Japan as an ally of Russia, in Russia’s interest, and with the sole view of holding it safe against Germany and at the absolute disposal of the final peace conference. Otherwise the Central powers could and would make it appear that Japan was doing in the East exactly what Germany is doing in the West and so seek to counter the condemnation which all the world must pronounce against Germany’s invasion of Russia, which she attempts to justify on the pretext of restoring order. And it is the judgment of the Government of the United States, uttered with the utmost respect, that, even with such assurances given, they could in the same way be discredited by those whose interest it was to discredit them; that a hot resentment would be generated in Russia itself, and that the whole action might play into the hands of the enemies of Russia, and particularly of the enemies of the Russian revolution, for which the Government of the United States entertains the greatest sympathy, in spite of all the unhappiness and misfortune which has for the time being sprung out of it. The Government of the United States begs once more to express to the Government of Japan its warmest friendship and confidence and once more begs it to accept [Page 68] these expressions of judgment as uttered only in the frankness of friendship.

  1. Message to the Japanese Government repeated in telegrams Mar. 5, 8 p.m., to the Ambassadors in Great Britain (No. 6774), France (No. 3260), and Italy (No. 1104), “for your information and guidance,” with the further statement: “Copies of it were read by me this afternoon to Ambassadors of France, England, and Italy.” It was also repeated to the Ambassador in Russia in telegram No. 2108, Mar. 11, 7 p.m., with Mar. 3 given erroneously as the date on which it was dispatched to Tokyo and read to the Ambassadors in Washington.